HOT CROSS BUNS

hot_cross_bunsDid you know that commercially sold HOT CROSS BUNS are full of poor quality ingredients? Wheat (sprayed with roundup), palm and canola oils, sugar syrup, thickeners, acidity regulators and emulsifiers! Not too much nutrition there.

Well here is a HOT CROSS BUN recipe that is nutritious, super delicious and easy to make. In addition, it has a super-boost of fibre ☺ This recipe was adapted from Sarah Quinney’s Raw Recipe http://www.therawfoodmum.com/raw-hot-cross-buns-recipe/ . I encourage you to look at her site http://www.therawfoodmum.com/ as she has lots of great recipes and resources!

TIME TO MAKE 10-20 minutes OVEN TIME Approx. 4 hrs
MAKES 6-7 BUNS
NUTRITIONAL PROFILE PER BUN 412 cals, Protein 13g, Fat 25g, Sat Fat 1.7g, Carbohydrates 27g, Fibre 11g

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup psyllium husk
  • 2 cups raw flaked or slivered almonds (with no skin)
  • 4 tsp. mixed spice (nutmeg, cinnamon & allspice mix)
  • 1 cup raisins  (pre-soaked)
  • ½ cup flaxseeds (ground)
  • ½ tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (ground)
  • 1 cup filtered water (or more if required)

METHOD 
PRE-PREP: Put raisins in a bowl, fill with water and let soak for 30mins.

  1. Put almonds and flaxseed in a Thermomix/blender/food processor and blend until fine.
  2. Add all other dry ingredients and combine.
  3. Drain the raisins and add to mixture.
  4. Add water slowly while blending with a spoon, or food processor, until the mix is a dough consistency.
  5. Remove and mould into a square loaf shape and separate into buns and place on oven tray.
    1. I have made this as a loaf, then just cup it up into slices to serve with butter, or sprinkle with cinnamon.
  6. Set oven for 55°C – and bake for 1 hour
  7. Raise the oven temp. to 100°C and slow bake for approx. 3 hours.

If you are up to making a Glaze and the White Cross [which I never am] then head to Sarah Quinney’s site http://www.therawfoodmum.com/raw-hot-cross-buns-recipe/ to get the details or use her original recipe.

BREATHING TO RELAX? THAT’S A NO BRAINER!

BREATHINGWhen someone says, “just relax” or “chill out” does it make your blood boil?

Well it’s probably a sign that you REALLY need to relax (lol)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve tried various relaxation techniques. Meditation (half successful), yoga (not successful) and then I came across BREATHING. Well I figured I could do that since it’s what I do all day, every day!!

But guess what, it’s not as simple as that, because the breathing that most of us do every day is Shallow Breathing – that is, breathing through the chest rather than lower lungs and breathing through the mouth rather than the nose.

This type of quick breathing is often a result of our fast paced lifestyle. We’re always in a rush (guilty as charged!!).

But did you know that Rapid Breathing results in a surge of the stress hormone cortisol, increases blood pressure and limits the amount of oxygen we need for optimal health. Not ideal.

The Key To Relaxation is SLOW BREATHING. I’ve tested it (yep took a bullet for you) and can attest to the fact that it WORKS!

And the bonus it that you can do it anywhere, anytime, no equipment required (also, it’s a sort of meditation, so it ticks that box too!)

SOME OF THE BENEFITS OF DEEP BREATHING ARE…

  • Clearer skin due to increased oxygen intake
  • Calms the mind
  • Helps centre thoughts
  • Lowers heart rate
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Improves mood

So Here Are My 3 Top Breathing Exercises To Get You Started…

4 — 5 — 6

  • Close your eyes, take a big breath in to the count of 4.
  • Hold your breath for the count of 5
  • Then let it out slowly to the count of 6.
  • Repeat approx 5-10 times.

DOUBLE THE BREATH OUT

  • Breath-in for a count of 5
  • Breath out, slowly, for a count of 10.
  • Repeat approx 5-10 times.

ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING

  • A bit more concentration needed for this one but it really is relaxing!
  • Using your right index finger close the right nostril and inhale deeply through the left nostril.
  • At the peak of inhalation, switch to closing the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril.
  • Now breath in through the right nostril, at the peak of inhalation, switch to closing the right nostril and exhale through the left nostril.
  • Repeat as often as you like.

SHARE this post to help others that need to CHILL 😉

Nat xx

RAW CHOCOLATE

Raw chocolate is a wonderful treat that can also boost your health!

Raw cacao is known to….

  • Improve gut health
  • Help to regulate blood sugar
  • Improve mood
  • Promote healthy skin with its zinc and essential fatty acids
  • Aid weight loss
  • Eliminate sugar cravings

It has an ORAC value of over 90,000 and is an excellent source of essential fatty acids, iron, copper, zinc, magnesium, calcium and sulphur. Recent research showed that raw dark cacao increases beneficial bacterial strains such as Bifidobacteria and lactobacilli and decreases strains of unbeneficial bacteria species. So start making the yummiest treat in less than 10 minutes!

PREPARATION TIME: 10 minutes

SERVINGS: 22 x 10g servings

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (10g serving size)

58 calories, Protein 0.6g, Fat 5.5g, Sat Fat 3.7g, Carbohydrates 2g, Fibre 0g

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 80g Raw cacao butter (chopped into small pieces)
  • 55g Raw dark cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup flaked almonds

EQUIPMENT

  • A glass (Pyrex) jug
  • Saucepan
  • Sifter
  • Chocolate mold (or tray with baking paper)
  • A small whisk/wooden spoon/hand blender
  • Spatula

METHOD

  1. Fill saucepan with 2-3cm water, bring to the boil then reduce to a simmer.
  2. Place the cacao butter in the Pyrex jug, place the jug in saucepan and let it melt.
  3. Remove from heat and let it cool a little.
  4. Add maple syrup and coconut oil, mix well.
  5. Place the sifter on top of the jug and slowly sieve cacao powder a little at a time, blending each time.
  6. Add flaked almonds and mix well.
  7. Carefully pour into the molds/or a shallow tray (lined with baking paper) and gently shake to settle the chocolate.
  8. Place in the fridge for a couple of hours.

BANANA RASPBERRY ICE-CREAM

There are heaps of versions of this Banana Ice-cream on the web but I find this one to be the most delicious because of the added coconut cream

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes

SERVINGS: 2 servings

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (100g serving size)

71 calories, Protein 1.2g, Fat 1.2g, Sat Fat 0.9g, Carbohydrates 10g, Fibre 4.5g

Ingredients

  • 1 banana, peeled and frozen
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries
  • 4 tbsp. coconut cream

Directions

Put all ingredients in a food processor/blender/thermomix and blender until smooth.

It may take a while to become creamy so be patient.

Serve immediately as when you re-freeze it gets rock hard.

You can substitute 1 cup frozen berries for any other frozen fruit e.g. 2 slices of mango, 1 cup blueberries etc., or if you like chocolate ice-cream then substitute berries for 1 tsp. of raw cacao powder.

HINT:

  1. I buy bananas when they are really cheap, and still a little green, peel them and then put them in a sealed container so I can make ice-cream anytime! Also bananas that are still a little green are a good source of prebiotics (food for your beneficial gut bacteria)
  2. Story the unused portion of the coconut cream in a sealed container in the fridge, it lasts for months. In fact, you’ll probably use it up before it expires J
  3. If you want an OMEGA 3 burst, then mix ½ cup of chia seeds into the coconut cream. They swell up in the coconut cream and add a nice little crunch to your ice-cream.

BIRCHER MUESLI

Bircher MuesliThe EASIEST and most NUTRITIOUS breakfast you can make in 5 minutes! This is a traditional Swiss recipe created over a 100 yrs. ago by Maximillian Bircher-Benner, a Swiss doctor, who served it to his patients as a part of a healing therapy. The fact that it is soaked overnight helps to improve the digestion and absorption of the nutrient-dense ingredients.

PREPARATION TIME: 5 minutes
SERVINGS: 10 servings (100g each)

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (100g serving size)
224 calories, Protein 5.3g, Fat 15g, Sat Fat 8g, Carbohydrates 13g, Fibre 4g

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 4 tablespoons of flaked or slivered almonds
  • 4 tablespoons goji berries (optional)
  • 1 can coconut milk (400ml) OR 400ml homemade almond milk.
  • 1½ cups filtered water (put this in the emptied coconut milk can, swish around, and then put in)

OPTIONAL: Instead of extra water, add freshly squeezed green apple juice for a sweeter taste. However be aware this will change the Nutritional Values.

METHOD

  1. Put all the DRY ingredients into a large glass dish/bowl (that has a lid).
  2. Mix well with a spoon
  3. Pour on the coconut or almond milk and water. Mix well
  4. Put in fridge. It’s ready to eat after 5 or so hours.
  5. Keep in fridge, lasts 7-10 days.

EXAMPLES of SERVING OPTIONS

  • Drizzle with honey
  • Dollop of yoghurt
  • Scattering of fresh berries
  • Sliced banana, apple or pear.

LENTIL DIP

lentil dip image (1)Whip up this super delicious LENTIL DIP on the weekend and you’ll have a nutritious daily snack that will last you a week. Lentils are a wonderful source of protein and Vitamins B1 & B6. Just 100g provides you with 150% of your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of Molybdenum, 45% of Folate, 30% of Fibre, 25% of Copper, Phosphorous and Manganese and 15% of Iron.

Lentils are well known for their cholesterol-lowering effects but what I really love about them is that they really nourish your body and are a great LOW GI snack giving you a steady energy supply all day. Use strips of raw carrot or celery to dip into it.

PREPARATION TIME: 20-30 mins

MAKES: 600g

NUTRITIONAL VALUE (100g serving size)

60 calories, Protein 5g, Fat 0.4g, Sat Fat 0.06g, Carbohydrates 7.5g, Fibre 3.2g

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 heaped cup (200g) of Red Lentils (dry, uncooked)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 Red capsicums (medium, raw) OR 6 strips of Roasted red capsicums (in jar)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Cumin

METHOD

  1. Put dry red lentils into a saucepan, add 2 cups of water, and simmer on low (stirring occasionally) until all the water is absorbed. Takes about 10-15 minutes. While this is happening start on STEP 3.

When cooked (should be soft and mushy) drain in a sieve and let stand for 5 minutes so extra water can drain off.

  1. If cooking raw capsicum, place in a metal dish and place in the oven on 180C, for 20-30minutes until slightly shrivelled.

Remove from oven, cool and remove skin and core

  1. Place cooked red lentils, cooked red capsicum and cumin in a blender or thermomix and blend till smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  3. Lasts a week.

EMOTIONAL FIRST AID

image064In my HEALTH AND WELLBEING articles I predominantly talk about nutrition, and some fitness, but usually don’t delve into mental health. For those of you that know me – you can probably understand why! 🙂

I recently listened to a great TED talk about EMOTIONAL FIRST AID. It talked about that when we cut or injure ourselves we put a Band-Aid or bandage on it. And if we have an infection we tend to it by improving our diet, by taking supplements or a course of antibiotics. But when it comes to our mental health most of us ignore it. As an example, when we’re lonely or experience failure we are told to ‘move on’, ‘get over it’, ‘toughen up’ etc. But we really need to learn how to practice emotional first aid.  Here’s a great TED talk to listen to that will help equip with you with some skills.http://www.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_the_case_for_emotional_hygiene

GO MEATLESS TWO DAYS A WEEK

image063You don’t need to survive on a diet of lettuce leaves when you go meatless but for the sake of your health I urge you to start cutting down on your consumption. A 2009 study examined the relationship of early death with the consumption of red meat, processed meat and poultry. It showed that individuals that ate red meat (daily) not only ate fewer vegetables and fruits, but (men only) consumed more alcohol. The research concluded that daily consumption of red meat and processed meats (20g a day) directly correlated to an increase risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, respiratory disease and digestive tract diseases. Eating poultry was not directly linked to all causes.

So I hear you ask, “What the hell do I eat if there’s no meat?!” …And… “Where will I get my protein from?”.

Heaps of yummy options for Meatless Days… Beans, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, Fruit and Vegetables to create meals like Cauli Chickpea Madras, Spaghetti Marinara with Lentil balls, Cauliflower Risotto, Mexican Bean Chill with Corn chips all featured on my Gut Rebalancing Protocol the list goes on.

And your protein? Don’t worry as you will get adequate protein from all these foods. In fact it’s where animals get their protein from – yes the meat you eat, the protein is from the animals eating plants. Watch this video about plant-based living

Here’s a simple plan to get you started with easy 2 minute meals.

BREAKFAST

Option 1: Porridge topped with slivered almonds, dusting of cinnamon and topped drizzled with raw unprocessed honey or maple syrup.
Option 2: Smashed Avocado mixed with chopped tomato, red onion and sunflower and pumpkin seeds on crispbread.

LUNCH

Option 1: Pumpkin and Spinach Salad with Tahini dressing and Pine nuts.
Option 2: Open Crispbread sandwich with Hummus Mayo, Sliced tomato and Avocado.

DINNER

Option 1: VEGETARIAN BOLOGNESE
Option 2: BLACK BEAN AND QUINOA SALAD

Comment below and let me know how you went on your Meatless day 🙂

Natalie 💚

EAT SOME SAUERKRAUT!

image042Not the one from the supermarket that is kept in vinegar but the REAL SAUERKRAUT that has been fermented in brine (salt solution). SAUERKRAUT is an excellent pre-biotic. A Prebiotics is a food that serves as food for beneficial bacteria in our digestive tract.  Fermented foods assist in restoring the balance of bacteria in your gut, aid digestion and improve your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods you eat. So rather than popping a prebiotic why not colonize the gut with REAL food!

SOME BENEFITS OF EATING SAUERKRAUT

  • Lactic acid enhances the digestibility of food and promotes the growth of healthy flora in the intestines.
  • Increases Vitamin A & C levels
  • It produces enzymes that help with digestion
  • It produces antibiotic substances
  • Rich in Vitamin K2 (known cancer fighter)
  • Helps cut down on sugar cravings

3PM SNACK TIME

image061If you’re anything like me, when mid-afternoon hits I usually crave for something sweet.

If I’m not prepared I make ‘unhealthy’ choices so I make sure I prepare a suite of afternoon snacks on the weekend. Here is a sample of some of the snacks I prepare….

  • A jar of mixed nuts (almonds, cashews, brazil nuts)
  • An assortment of fruit: bananas, apples, pears and oranges. (I bought a really nice bowl that I keep on my desk)
  • A slice of some sort e.g. Goji berry slice, bliss balls or Chocolate macaroons. Click here for recipes
  • I make a batch of HUMMUS DIP  cut up a some carrots & celery sticks and keep at work in the fridge for a go-to-snack.

Do you have any quick snacks that you would like to share with the Voi community? Leave them in the comment section!

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